The National Golf Course Owners Association Canada’s monthly Research Reports show impressive increases in both rounds played and revenue for the 2020 golf season.
NGCOA Canada Rounds Played Reports for the month of July showed an increase of 25.5 per cent nationally year-over-year.
All provinces were up by double digits, with Saskatchewan leading the charge with an increase of 40.1 per cent followed by B.C. at 38.9 per cent, Ontario at 24.6 per cent, Alberta at 22.9 per cent, 21.7 per cent in Atlantic Canada, 19 per cent in Quebec and 17.2 per cent in Manitoba.
Overall, the 2020 year-to-date increase of 9.3 per cent nationally stands out, considering the late start to this season in many regions due to COVID-19.
At the end of May, the national Rounds Played results were down 25.9 per cent, but the portion of May that courses were able to open was very strong and that continued through the first full month in June, and throughout the summer.
“Back in April, the uncertainty from COVID-19 and government-mandated closures meant that the entire golf season was at serious risk”, said NGCOA Canada CEO Jeff Calderwood. “And now we’re tracking for record setting 2020 results.”
July rounds played also outpaced the past five-year average by an 25.6 per cent.
NGCOA Canada’s Weather Impact Report shows that weather has also contributed to the success.
Tracked regionally, the collective weather impact reported by all golf course operators scored an 8.1 index on a 0-10 scale on which five is “normal”. The reports show that Atlantic, Quebec and Ontario benefitted the most from favourable weather conditions.
Nationally, golf courses are also experiencing corresponding increases in revenues.
Credit card transaction revenues increased by 73.2 per cent in July, with Quebec and Ontario seeing the highest increases. The increase in online and contactless payments coupled with the renewed popularity in golf appear to be the main contributing factors.
That growth in July credit card transactions brings the 2020 year-to-date increase to almost 20 per cent, more than offsetting the large decreases seen in March and April.
All regions had significant growth with the exception of Atlantic Canada, where it appears member and local play is driving the increase in rounds while the lucrative golf tourism market has been seriously curtailed by restrictions on both inter-provincial and International travel.
“We had been hearing how busy golf courses have been and we saw positive data coming out of the June, the first full month this year, but our July Rounds and Revenue Reports confirm that the anecdotal comments and early positive data have indeed translated into a very sustained positive 2020 trend for Canadian golf,” said Calderwood.
“This may be a record-setting year despite the challenges associated with COVID-19,” he added.
The NGCOA Canada Research Reports include monthly weather score and revenue tracker data in addition to rounds. The NGCOA Canada Research panel consists of 679 golf courses.